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Born into a large extended family, Justin has been around many different kids and teens his whole life. Justin's journey working with adolescents  began as a camp counselor, where the seeds of mentorship and inspiration were sown. This initial role soon evolved into becoming the Athletic Director of a camp at 19, where the values of teamwork, leadership, and resilience were instilled in the hearts of campers.

At the age of 21, Justin's life changed when he faced the tragedy of his only siblings passing. Facing grief, the already challenging experience of figuring out what he wants to do or be in life, and the challenge of moving on, Justin's first step back moving forward was to naturally work with kids, as a substitute teacher. While doing that and completing his first degree, he stumble upon occupational therapy as a profession and instantly was excited by the idea of making a career out of helping people live life to their fullest.


As an Occupational Therapist, Justin ventured into diverse educational settings, including preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools. His expertise and work experience extended to sensory clinics, home-based services, and innovative work-based training sites, enriching the lives of countless students.


**A Champion for Every Child**


Justin's dedication extends beyond the classroom. Having experience as an expert witness for students with special needs, Justin has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of students who needed appropriate recommendations for services on their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). His help during transition planning and evaluating students who needed support, has been demonstrated throughout his career. He has a reputation of giving it his all with all of his students, especially teaching them to advocate for themselves, as well as being their advocate.


**The Power of Knowledge Sharing**


A passionate believer in continuous learning, Justin shares his wealth of knowledge through community lectures and national presentations, enlightening fellow professionals, parents and the curious minded with cutting-edge insights in the field of occupational therapy and youth development. He enjoys speaking for audiences on topics such as neuroplasticity, sensory integration, motor coordination, executive functioning, ergonomics, the impacts of technology use and universal design, mindfulness and leisure exploration. Justin knows the importance of giving back to the occupational therapy field by being a clinical supervisor, adjunct professor, guest lecturer and continuing education lecturer.


**Life Coaching and Personal Growth**


Justin's transformative journey has also encompassed the role of a life coach, specializing in guiding teens and young adults as they navigate the complexities of adolescents and eventually future goal planning, like after high school or post-college life. Through his own experience, receiving three college degrees, and having numerous connections that have made their own way with other college degrees and non-college based paths, Justin gets that the path can look different for everyone, and that there are many different paths towards fulfillment and success.


**Turning Tragedy into Resilience**


Life's challenges have not been foreign to Justin. The loss of a beloved sister at her tender age of 15, followed by the heartache of losing close friends and family members, brought profound grief and reflection. Through the highs and lows of personal experiences, Justin has emerged as a living testament to the resilience and strength that can be found within the human spirit. He has worked very hard to “practice what he preaches”, which can only be evident when meeting Justin or working with him. 


**A Compassionate Heart**


In addition to personal trials, Justin has also provided unwavering support to family members battling cancer, sometimes rare and daunting. This experience has deepened his empathy and compassion for those facing health challenges. Particularly as an OT and life coach, he has worked with a wide variety of populations, especially with the neurodivergent, emotionally disturbed and learning disabled, which has only further fostered a deep understanding of acceptance of all and appreciation for the complexities of life’s challenges. He has helped hundreds of his clients work through their anxiety, questionable self-esteem and fears, so that they can conquer those challenges with new found hope and belief in themselves.


** Renaissance Man**

Justin has always loved being active and mentally engaged. He can often be found enjoying one of his many meaningful hobbies. Justin loves to stay active. His major love is playing basketball, but also enjoys playing volleyball and bowling regularly. He is active with his Crossfit community and enjoys staying active outside of that by kayaking, paddle boarding and bicycling. His artistic and creative side that inspires his groups and therapy, also lead him to practice various art forms, especially mosaic art work, gelatin art (edible art), and acrylic pouring mediums. He has a love for music and dance, and enjoys dabbling in creating raps and songwriting. Becoming an OT that works in pediatrics is only fitting for a man who loves a good old fashioned card or board game, and is still undefeated at Scattergories.

Today, Justin stands as a source of inspiration, a mentor, and a guide, dedicated to helping young minds flourish, empowering individuals to overcome obstacles, and supporting families in their journeys towards well-being. Through his unique blend of professional expertise, down-to-earth, motivational, and engaging character, with true personal understanding, Justin continues to light the way toward brighter, more fulfilling futures.

Justin Lyons The founder of Special Connects

Angelica S., M.S. OTR/L

I am honored to provide a heartfelt testimonial for the exceptional occupational therapist Justin Lyons who served as my fieldwork supervisor when I was pursuing my Occupational Therapy degree. Justin’s unwavering dedication, expertise, and commitment to my professional growth have profoundly influenced my journey as an occupational therapist. From the very beginning, Justin demonstrated a vast knowledge of occupational therapy principles and a superb ability to apply them effectively which was truly inspiring. Justin effortlessly blended theory with practical application, providing me with a comprehensive understanding of the profession. He provided clear and concise explanations which nurtured my learning and allowed me to grasp complex concepts with ease. What truly sets Justin apart from others as an occupational therapist is his remarkable ability to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment. He fostered a sense of trust and collaboration, encouraging open dialogue and active participation regularly. Justin’s empathy and compassion were evident in every interaction, making me feel valued and supported throughout my fieldwork experience. Justin’s genuine interest in my growth and development as an occupational therapy student was both motivating and empowering. As a supervisor, Justin constantly challenged me to push beyond my comfort zone and strive for more. He provided me with a multitude of opportunities to apply my knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios. Justin skillfully balanced guidance with independence, allowing me to take ownership of my learning while providing constructive feedback and support. Justin’s ability to strike the perfect balance between guidance and autonomy fostered my confidence and competence as a future occupational therapist. One of the most remarkable aspects of Justin’s supervision style was his commitment to professional growth and continuing education. He encouraged me to explore new research, attend conferences, and engage in professional networking. Justin’s dedication to staying current with the latest evidence-based practices inspired me to adopt a lifelong learning mindset. He served as a role model, exemplifying the importance of professional growth and the pursuit of excellence. Furthermore, Justin’s clinical expertise and innovative approach to therapy were truly transformative. He consistently implemented evidence-based interventions, adapting them to meet the unique needs of each and every student. Justin’s creativity in developing therapy plans, utilizing assistive technology, and incorporating sensory integration techniques showcased his ability to think outside the box. Witnessing his expertise in action was inspiring and left an indelible mark on my understanding of occupational therapy practice. In summary, Justin’s impact on my professional journey cannot be overstated. His guidance, mentorship, and unwavering support have shaped me into the occupational therapist I am today. Justin’s passion for the profession, dedication to my growth while I was a student have instilled in me a deep appreciation for the transformative power of occupational therapy and I will always be grateful to him.

Tanya A., M.A., CCC-SLP, TSSLD

Justin Lyons is an exceptional Occupational Therapist and Life Coach. As a colleague of his for nine years, I have witnessed his ability to go above and beyond for his students. Not only is his knowledge base fast, the way that he connects to students on an individual level is quite remarkable. He focuses on their academic, physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. When Justin sees a need, he strives to find a solution and immediately put his ideas to action. For example, Justin started the Gentlemans lunch program at the high school we worked at together as a way to enhance the self-esteem of the teenage boys of the school and his program eventually extend it to the female students. In addition, Justin created “The Soothe Space” as a place for students to go and relax decompress and allow themselves a mindful moment. Whether you were looking for an occupational therapist, or a life coach, I would highly recommend Justin Lyons any day!

Jeremy H., MOT, OTR/L

Justin Lyons is not only an outstanding occupational therapist but also a great mentor of mine. He is a remarkably caring, detail-oriented, and well-organized therapist. I got to know him when he became my fieldwork supervisor in a school setting. During that time, I was fortunate to get the chance to work and collaborate with him to build “The Soothe Space,” a sensory room that helps students with special needs to calm down, regulate their behaviors, and improve focus. Justin is knowledgeable on what he is doing and open-minded to different opinions. During my time working with Justin, I witnessed his dedication, work ethic, and professionalism as an occupational therapist and my supervisor. He is very respectful to his students and colleagues. As a supervisor, Justin always allows me to apply my knowledge and skills when working with students while providing me with great support and constructive feedback when I need it. On several occasions, Justin also challenged and pushed me out of my comfort zone, which allowed me to grow and be more confident when working with children with special needs. My experience working with Justin not only has broadened my perspective and experience in working with different populations and backgrounds but also, has shaped me to become the occupational therapist I am today. As an Occupational Therapist, I have no doubt that Justin has the knowledge, skills, and determination to help all of his clients. Therefore, I highly recommend him without reservation.


Justin is a professional through and through. Justin and I worked together early in our careers – he as an Occupational Therapist and me as a Speech-Language Pathologist. He is a wonderful collaborator. More recently, Justin developed a workshop for parents at my family business’ martial arts studio. In this forum, Justin was able to connect with parents and address areas of concern including sensory systems, fine motor issues, visual/spatial concerns, balance, behavior and social issues too! Justin made the workshop fun and was able to offer amazing insights so that parents gained understanding of their children’s behavior and he provided them with strategies. Justin is a presenter to my graduate level class of future speech language pathologists who have benefitted from his perspective and experience. Justin is a tremendous and likeable resource for any family facing life skills concerns!

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